Whether enjoying recreationally, competitively or merely spectating, sports are embedded in our local culture. Each day of the week, many sporting activities take place all over Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands.
Under normal circumstances, Cayman is a hotbed of sporting activity and events year-round, which is why NBA stars, NFL legends, world-renowned boxers, soccer stars, track and field champions, and gold medal swimmers are regular visitors.
Some even enjoy local events; Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte loves the annual Flowers Sea Swim. Manny Pacquiao, the legendary Filipino fighter, attended a boxing show in George Town a few years ago. Steven Gerrard, the England soccer star, and tennis sisters Serena and Venus Williams have vacationed here.
Tennis icons John McEnroe, Andre Agassi, and Martina Hingis have all played Legends Tennis in Grand Cayman. Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, won the 100m event at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in 2013. The region’s beach volleyball aces love the regional tour’s stop to Seven Mile Beach for its beauty and facilities and because the organisation, crowd appreciation, and overall experience are second to none. Hollywood A-listers, media moguls, former heads of state, and a host of other celebrities regularly visit, perform, hold workshops and give keynote speeches in the Cayman Islands too.
It’s not only the elite who love the sports facilities; ordinary folks of all ages and abilities, families, and keen amateurs immerse themselves in the remarkably high quality on offer. There is never a lull in activities.
Many sports facilities have seen upgrades in recent years. So whether it’s a 5k road run in George Town, flag football tournament in West Bay, triathlon in East End, soccer competition in Bodden Town, or boat race at Rum Point, there is something for everyone.
No wonder Cayman has a burgeoning reputation for sports tourism. The annual Cayman Islands Marathon – always held on the first Sunday in December – is one reason. It has grown exponentially in recent years, welcoming runners from all corners. Many say it’s the most beautiful and best organised event they’ve ever run. Some even come just to spectate and soak in the inimitable atmosphere.
The Flowers Sea Swim, the world’s richest of its kind, is held in June. It attracts world-class swimmers vying for extraordinary prizes as well as hundreds of locals and visitors who love the incredible fun and unity it generates in Seven Mile Beach’s pristine water. It is a significant charity fundraiser too.
Understandably for a cluster of small islands, water sports are enjoyed all over. Snorkelling around beautiful coral reefs, scuba diving to old shipwrecks, as well as boating, paddle boarding, sailing, fishing, kayaking, and kitesurfing provide unbridled fun. There’s also a vast choice of charters to explore the majestic seas and coastline.
Sports for everyone
The Cayman Islands may be best known as a financial centre, but it also boasts an array of sports not generally associated with the tropics. Being a British Overseas Territory, there’s an extraordinarily high standard of rugby, netball, cricket, squash, soccer, and tennis. There’s even a darts league too. There are associations for all of them. Many locals have competed at the highest level, including the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, first-class cricket, Pan American Games, and even the Winter Olympics!
An outdoor, sporty lifestyle is on offer for young children. There are peewee and junior teams in soccer, softball, basketball, track, swimming, and many more.
Beach yoga classes
For yoga enthusiasts, opportunities abound. The Cayman Yoga Club offers the serenity of body and mind through breath, movement, conscious living, and community. Located on Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, its studio is easily accessible to all. BodyWorks Holistic Wellness Centre in Queens Court Plaza is also a popular yoga spot.
The Wednesday Night Running Club is an excellent choice to get super fit and make new friends. It’s free and open to any level of runner, from complete beginners, occasional joggers, or experienced runners looking to challenge themselves. They meet every Wednesday, at 6 pm at the World Gym Car Park.
Gyms and Fitness Centres
Of course, there’s a strong gym culture in Grand Cayman, where bodybuilding is king. The well-established World Gym Fitness Center opens 24 hours, offers numerous programmes, a juice bar, and a CrossFit club for the super-motivated. Anytime Fitness in Camana Bay is conveniently located for the community there. The Performance Lab by FNSports has an excellent boxercise programme and prides itself on improving clients’ overall fitness and cardio. CrossFit has a strong following on Grand Cayman. 7 Mile Strength & Fitness is a magnet for followers. Further out from George Town, located in Savannah, is Universal Fitness. There’s a wide selection of gyms around the island, depending on taste and budget.
Cayman’s golf scene
Grand Cayman’s golf scene has always thrived with two courses on Grand Cayman, the North Sound Golf Club, and the nine-hole course at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, designed by Greg Norman.
All in all, when it comes to sports, the Cayman Islands deserves a gold medal for punching above its weight.